A map of Israel on a video the White House produced about US President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit showed the country without the West Bank (where Israel does not claim sovereignty) or the Golan Heights (where it has extended Israeli law).
The short clip, which was meant to promote the president’s first trip abroad, highlighted five destinations in four countries he’s slated to visit: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy (including the Vatican) and Belgium.
By Friday evening the video appeared to have been removed and was no longer available.
In the video, a map of Israel was shown within the pre-June 1967 ceasefire lines. During that year’s Six Day War — Israel is currently marking the war’s 50th anniversary — the Jewish state captured East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan.
Israel has since returned the Sinai to Egypt, annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan, withdrawn from Gaza, and built large numbers of settlements in the West Bank without extending sovereignty there.
The international community, including all previous US administrations, has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over any of these areas. Many Israelis might nonetheless be surprised to see that the current US administration, which has repeatedly affirmed its unwavering support of and friendship to Israel’s right-wing government, signaling its adoption of the widespread international position, especially as regards the Golan Heights.
US recognition of Israel’s extension of its law over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria, is seen as a key request Jerusalem wants to make of Trump during his visit, Israeli ministers have said.
The promotional video could anger Palestinians too. While Israel was shown without the West Bank in a map, the text that listed Trump’s schedule in each location did not distinguish between the two. Trump’s planned meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem was included under the heading “Israel,” alongside his meetings with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem’s western half.
Many in the international community do not consider any part of Jerusalem to be part of Israel, arguing that the city’s status must be determined through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Previous US administrations carefully avoided stating that Jerusalem is part of Israel.
In contrast, the clip spoke of “Rome & Vatican City” as opposed to merely saying “Italy.”
At the United Nations General Assembly, the Vatican and the “State of Palestine” have the same status as non-member observer states.
“In Jerusalem, President Trump will meet with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem. He will then deliver remarks at the Israel Museum celebrating the unique history of Israel and of the Jewish people,” a text accompanying the clip stated.
“Later that day, the President will meet with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. They will be joined by First Lady Melania Trump and Mrs. Sara Netanyahu for a private dinner. President Trump will meet the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem and will urge Palestinian leaders to take productive steps toward peace. The President will also visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall.”